Customers of the British clothes retailer are fearing for their cash after credit card details were stolen from the company's website by hackers.

Some of the world's top IT security experts warned in April, that the highstreet was to be the next target of hack attacks, and now 38,000 customers have found themselves victims.

The retailer has only just made the story public but it seems that the attack occurred way back in January.

Cotton Traders referred the issue to Barclaycard and then called in industry security experts.

It said that all card details were encrypted, with most cards stopped in the same month of the attack.

The firm said in a statement: "Earlier this year we identified a security issue. We immediately brought in security experts to resolve the problem".

"We would like to reassure all our customers that their data is secure and that the Cotton Traders website meets all leading industry security standards."

Customers were not told about the attack and Cotton Traders say that anyone who is worried should speak to their card provider - a move that has drawn criticism from security experts.

John Turner, vice president for EMEA Presales at Symantec, told IT Pro: "Although most data breaches are accidental, the lost of personal data can have a huge negative impact on an organisations reputation".

"However, in this case, the breach was intentional and the company didn’t notify the affected customers to the security hacking."